Join the Revolutionary Internationalist Contingents on March 15!

All U.S. Troops Out of the Near East Now!

Down With U.S. Imperialism! Defend Iraq!

For Class Struggle Against U.S. Capitalist Rulers!

The following call was issued by the Spartacist League U.S. on 7 March 2003.

The U.S. imperialist rulers are about to unleash mass murder and destruction on Iraq followed by a direct colonial occupation of that country. The U.S. government aims to add tens of thousands of Iraqi corpses to the more than a million already produced by the last Gulf War and the deadly UN sanctions. This is intended as a bloody warning to the whole world, and particularly to Wall Street’s most powerful economic and political rivals in Berlin and Tokyo: stand in the way of the U.S. capitalists and you will be crushed! This war is predatory and imperialist on the part of the U.S. but just and defensive on the part of Iraq. Working people and opponents of U.S. imperialism must take a side in defense of Iraq, without giving any political support to the bloody Saddam Hussein regime—Defend Iraq!

The Spartacist League, Spartacus Youth Clubs and Labor Black Leagues call on those who oppose U.S. imperialism to join our revolutionary internationalist contingents in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco on March 15, based on the demands: All U.S. troops out of the Near East now! Down with U.S. imperialism! Defend Iraq! For class struggle against U.S. capitalist rulers! March with the proletarian internationalist revolutionists who tell the truth to the masses: that only socialist revolution can end imperialist war!

Any blow against the U.S. imperialist military is a blow against the common enemy of the world’s working class and oppressed. Especially given the overwhelming military superiority of U.S. forces, the chief means of defending Iraq is working-class struggle against the U.S. capitalists at home.

Imperialist war demands class peace. Workers, blacks and immigrants face an all-sided attack under the “war on terror,” which is backed by the Republicans and Democrats alike. The fight against imperialist war abroad is part and parcel of the fight against the war on working people at home. It is necessary to struggle against the capitalist system of production for profit which is the root cause of war, exploitation and oppression. But the organizers of the mass antiwar protests are proceeding in the exact opposite direction—turning these protests into platforms to garner votes and political support for a wing of the capitalist Democratic Party.

We are marching in counterposition to this program of “unity” with the upholders of the capitalist system, who oppose the war for now because they don’t think it best serves the interests of rapacious U.S. imperialism. Such Democrats, along with the capitalist Green Party, posture as friends of the oppressed in order to better channel the discontent with this racist capitalist system back into dead-end electoral politics. We say: Break with the Democratic Party of racism and war! For a workers party that fights for socialist revolution!

The organizers of the demonstrations, such as the Workers World Party’s ANSWER, the Revolutionary Communist Party’s Not In Our Name (NION) and the United for Peace and Justice coalitions raise such calls as “No war on Iraq” and refuse to take a side in defense of Iraq. To do so would mean siding with the “enemy,” a position that would preclude the participation of any purportedly antiwar wing of the bourgeoisie.

Leon Trotsky, co-leader with V.I. Lenin of the 1917 Russian Revolution, argued against this class-collaborationist orientation in his “Declaration to the Antiwar Congress at Amsterdam” (July 1932):

“To condemn war is easy; to overcome it is difficult. The struggle against war is a struggle against the classes which rule society and which hold in their hands both its productive forces and its destructive weapons. It is not possible to prevent war by moral indignation, by meetings, by resolutions, by newspaper articles, and by congresses. As long as the bourgeoisie has at its command the banks, the factories, the land, the press, and the state apparatus, it will always be able to drive the people to war when its interests demand it.”

“Antiwar” bourgeois politicians push UN weapons inspections, and even the murderous UN sanctions which are themselves acts of war, as a supposed “alternative” to war. The UN is nothing other than a fig leaf for imperialist slaughter, from the 1950-53 Korean War which killed over three million people to the first Gulf War. Even with UN backing, this would be a predatory war by U.S. imperialism.

As a result of the destruction of the Soviet Union by capitalist counterrevolution in 1991-92, the U.S. imperialists now feel free to run roughshod over the planet. The Soviet Union was a degenerated workers state which, despite the rule of a nationalist bureaucracy, embodied enormous gains for the working people, women and national minorities as a result of the planned, collectivized economy. The USSR was the military and industrial powerhouse for every state that had overthrown capitalism, from Vietnam to Cuba. We fought for the unconditional military defense of the Soviet Union against imperialist attack and capitalist counterrevolution, and for a workers political revolution to oust the Stalinist bureaucracy. Today we wage the same fight in defense of the remaining deformed workers states: Defend North Korea’s right to nuclear weapons! Defend China, Cuba and Vietnam!

Most of today’s pseudo-socialists cheered the destruction of the Soviet Union, after having supported just about every counterrevolutionary movement in the Soviet Bloc, from Polish Solidarność to Boris Yeltsin. The International Socialist Organization (ISO), Progressive Labor (PL), Revolutionary Communist Party and Socialist Action, who today refuse to take on their “own” bourgeoisie in defense of Iraq, sided with U.S. imperialism in its drive to destroy the homeland of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Just as the capitalists are driven to maximize profit by squeezing more from the workers for less, the most industrially advanced nations are driven to compete with each other over markets, raw materials and spheres of investment. This struggle leads to economic wars, which ultimately lead to shooting wars. And the destruction of the USSR has brought on increased interimperialist rivalries.

The only way that a future interimperialist war—like World War I and World War II—can be prevented is through socialist revolutions that seize control of society’s productive resources from the capitalists and reorganize society based on economic planning for social need rather than profit. Only the working class, whose collective labor produces all profit, has both the power and the objective interests to accomplish this task. The important actions already carried out by Scottish and Italian rail workers, blocking munitions shipments destined for U.S. and allied forces in the Near East, point the way forward for U.S. workers, who must take up the struggle here in the belly of the imperialist beast.

But it is impossible to mobilize such a struggle if opposition to the war is subordinated to a wing of the capitalist class. In the 1930s, then-Trotskyist James Burnham (John West) pointed out in War and the Workers:

“To suppose...that revolutionists can work out a common ‘program against war’ with non-revolutionists is a fatal illusion. Any organization based upon such a program is not merely powerless to prevent war; in practice it acts to promote war, both because it serves in its own way to uphold the system that breeds war, and because it diverts the attention of its members from the real fight against war.”

We say: for class struggle against the U.S. capitalist rulers! In contrast, the ISO publication Socialist Worker Online (22 November 2002) declares that “antiwar groups have to be open to anyone who opposes the Bush war drive,” including people who might agree with “UN weapons inspections or even the U.S. war on Afghanistan. Otherwise, the movement will close itself off.” What this means in practice is unity with bourgeois elements whose interests are irreconcilably counterposed to those of working people and the oppressed. Imperialist war should be met not with the abandonment of struggle against the capitalist rulers, but its intensification.

The Progressive Labor Party states that they aim to “shatter the illusions many have in liberal politicians and expose the opportunist ‘left’ serving the Democratic Party” (Challenge, 5 February). Yet these supposed fighters for communism not only steadfastly refuse to take a side in defense of Iraq, but cannot even bring themselves to defend the besieged Palestinian people! In the midst of the genocidal war of terror by the U.S.-backed Zionist rulers against the Palestinians, Challenge (22 May 2002) declares: “This is a dogfight among gangsters. Backing the little ones against the big ones merely helps the little ones get bigger.” PL’s grotesque refusal to defend the Palestinian and Iraqi people should leave no doubt that despite its flaming red rhetoric, in practice PL capitulates to the U.S. ruling class. The right-wing Sharon regime could well be planning to expel Palestinians from the Occupied Territories under cover of an American war against Iraq. We say: Defend the Palestinian people! Troops out of the Occupied Territories!

We desperately need to build an internationalist revolutionary workers party like the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Trotsky that led the multinational working class of Russia to power. Our motto must be: unity of the workers in struggle against capitalism—break with the capitalist class enemy and their pseudo-socialist assistants! Fight for international socialist revolution—join us!

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